Among Dr. Jeffrey H. Kordower’s titles are Jean Schweppe-Armour Professor of Neurological Sciences, professor of neurosurgery, director of the Research Center for Brain Repair and head of the Neuroscience Section at Rush University Medical Center. He’s an international authority in the area of movement disorders, with special expertise in experimental therapeutic strategies for Parkinson’s disease, and has authored landmark papers on cell replacement strategies and gene therapies. We’re proud to call him a member of our Scientific Advisory Board.
We spoke to Jeff for our Three Questions for a Researcher feature and learned what his days are like in and out of the lab.
MJFF: What is the biggest challenge you face in your research today?
JK: I have 15 people in my laboratory. It is a great challenge to maintain funding, especially NIH funding, to move research forward as well as support the individuals who work in my lab long-term. I’m a risk-taker, and the funding environment is generally risk-averse. We need more innovative projects and the resources to test new ideas. It’d make a huge difference if government funders, private industry and even patients themselves advocated for the funding and resources to move progress forward.
MJFF: What is one thing people would be surprised to know about your daily work with PD?
JK: I think that people would be surprised that as a PhD neuroscientist I do a lot of work evolving into clinical trials with human patients. Many people think PhDs only work in the lab with experimental models and microscopes, but I have been involved in the design, execution and assessment of clinical trials, too.
MJFF: How do you unwind after work?
JK: I like to spend time with my girlfriend, Anne, and my sons, ride my motorcycle and scuba dive. I’m close to my master of scuba diving certification, and I recently did a wreck dive off the coast of North Carolina. When I was diving around the wreck, I counted about 45 tiger sharks. It was awesome. I’m going shark diving again in the Bahamas next year.